It seems one of the Basic Tenets of Patriarchal Family Values is that the young should not be allowed to decide who they marry. No matter what reasons are given, this rule is accepted across cultures, regions and religions.
Young women are subjected to more stringent value controls. (If women started choosing who they married, then they may not marry the more ardent protectors of some of these values?)
And so we hear,
“Parents should ensure that their wards, especially girls, do not use mobile phones as it makes them ‘behaya (shameless)’,” stated the resolution passed by AIMPLB (Jadid) stated at its national convention here.
So young people are denied opportunities of meeting potential life partners.
Until recently control was also achieved by denying opportunities of becoming emotionally and financially self reliant. ‘Children’ were married before they became self reliant and hence ‘out of control‘. But now that financial self reliance has started becoming a requirement for Arranged Marriages, some rules are changing.
(And yes we call this ‘giving freedom’)
So some colleges, almost all neighbors, some state laws and many parents connive to ensure young adults (potential life partners!) don’t interact. Here’s an example of how this works.
Marrying someone not chosen by the elders is generally seen as a serious offense, it can even get them killed.
In Muzaffarnagar, “The panchayat has imposed a ban on the usage of mobile phones by unmarried girls to prevent them from eloping with young boys against the wishes of their parents,” [link]
Young adults are taught about the moral dangers of interacting with young adults of the ‘opposite sex’. Such attempts, it is believed, lead to being ‘misled’.
So are the young Indians for or against Arranged Marriages?
Many young people believe that their parents are better qualified to find them life partners (some young Indians also believe that their parents are better qualified to raise their children).
Many young adults of ‘marriageable age’ have not had the time or opportunity to meet potential life partners (the video above is an example of how this is sometimes achieved). Also there is fear of lack of parents’ support, and everybody has heard about the ‘divorce rates in Love Marriages’.
Dowry and parental approval also make Arranged Marriages attractive to some.
There is also a minority (I think mostly middle class) where ‘choice marriages’ are not frowned upon, but many Indians see Love Marriages as immoral (I guess because the couple had to ‘interact with the opposite sex’ before they decided to marry…?)
Have you heard about The Lovers’ Party?
Some oppose it because ‘Love Marriages spoil the family system of our nation’. Do you agree?